With water losses of 45 billion litres every year and rapidly emptying dams, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality clearly faces a growing infrastructure and lost revenue crisis.
Massive water leaks prematurely induce drought conditions in our Metro, simply because the Municipality fails time and again to repair the leaks and stop the losses. Currently, our infrastructure maintenance backlog in NMB stands at over R4 billion with almost half of the Metro’s water lost before it even reaches our taps.
It has become abundantly clear that Minister Mokonyane’s War on Leaks was just a publicity stunt to try and fool NMB residents into thinking that this government cares enough to resolve this emergency.
The Despatch, Uitenhage and KwaNobuhle communities face frequent water outages that often continue for days at a time, leaving residents frustrated and without this desperately needed natural resource.
When the DA took over the City of Cape Town, the Metro was losing vast quantities of water to crumbling infrastructure. By 2012, overall water losses had decreased by 14.5% due to improved maintenance and upgrades to the reticulation network, under the DA government.
The successes of Cape Town as a result of proactive governance can be replicated here in Nelson Mandela Bay using tried and tested best practice.
Turning NMB’s water infrastructure around requires a few hard and fast commitments, which the DA will implement in government:
- Establish a dedicated leak repair team – To do this the DA would fill the multitude of vacant plumbing posts within the municipality, which are budgeted for but are negligently unfilled.
- Introduce municipal plumbing apprenticeships to train artisans and create jobs.
- Introduce sub-councils to improve technician response time and general service delivery to outlying communities such as Uitenhage, KwaNobuhle and Despatch.
- Develop private-public partnerships to assist with infrastructure maintenance funding.
- Redraw the municipal budget to vastly increase the infrastructure maintenance and upgrade budget – last year the ANC decided to cut the infrastructure maintenance budget by R123 million. The DA will prioritise infrastructure maintenance and cut wasteful and irregular expenditure by getting rid of corrupt officials.
- Establish an Anti-Leaks War Room within the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to improve response time to reported leaks – properly fixing leaks is a start to the solution, but holistic upgrade of water infrastructure would still be our priority.
- Map out all existing water leaks and make the identification interactive and responsive, tied into the JOC.
Our Metro doesn’t need to be drowning in leaks, but at the same time parched of drinking water. We can and we must solve the water crisis in NMB, for the future of our Metro.
The DA can win this local government election and we will ensure that NMB rises up to world-class status, where better services are delivered and jobs are created.
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